Proper Maternal Diet To Avoid Birth Defects (Part 1)

June 25, 2015


Structural or functional abnormalities present at birth can result in physical and mental disabilities, but are also the leading cause of death in infants less than 1 year of age. Birth defects can be prevented by taking up the proper maternal nutrition or dietary supplements. It is vital that future moms get on proper maternal diet both prior to and during pregnancy.

Lacking Vitamin B9

Professor Jennifer K. Nelson, MS, RD, claims that the lack of folate, or vitamin B9, in the mother’s diet may cause neural tube defects in infants.

Neural tube defects are basically the problems with the development of brain and spinal cord.

This defect usually begins during the first trimester of pregnancy and can result in nerve damage and paralysis of the legs. In some, more severe cases, infants do not survive as the majority of the brain fails to develop.

The recommended intake for vitamin B9, or folic acid, is around 400 micrograms daily. Foods that are high in folic acid include leafy green vegetables, fortified grains and orange juice, dried beans, peas, and fruits, and they should be consumed during the first trimester.

Lacking Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is another essential vitamin for the prevention of possible birth defects. The recommended intake is 2.4 micrograms on a daily basis prior to the pregnancy, and 2.6 micrograms per day during pregnancy.

Women who are most prone to lacking vitamin B12 are those who have intestinal disorders that slow down or even block the absorption of vitamin B12. Recommended sources of this important vitamin are milk products, meats, poultry, and eggs.

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